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The Essence of the Brontës

A Compilation with Essays

Muriel Spark

Cover of Spark, The Essence of the Brontes
10% off Paperback
Categories: 20th Century, British, Women
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (328 pages)
(Pub. Sep 2014)
9781847772466
£12.95 £11.65
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(Pub. Sep 2014)
9781847774705
£12.95
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(Pub. Sep 2014)
9781847774712
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Reviews
  • Muriel Spark always regarded the Brontës with a novelist's eye. As Boyd Tonkin argues in his lively introduction, written for the new edition, the Brontës inspired Spark at the very beginning of her own career, but not in a straightforward way. Through her critical and biographical on the Brontës Spark identified not only their achievements but also their flaws and failings, and thereby began to define, as Tonkin puts it, 'her own best route'. As she herself said, in a piece recorded for the BBC at Emily Brontë's grave in 1961, 'I was fascinated by [Emily's] creative mind because it's so entirely alien to my own'.

    This book, first published in 1993, collects Spark's essays on the Brontës, her selection of their letters and of Emily's poetry. Evident throughout are Spark's critical intelligence, dry wit, and refusal to sentimentalise - qualities that gave her own novels their particular appeal. At the same time, The Essence of the Brontës is Muriel Spark's tribute to the sisters whose talents 'placed them on a stage from where they could hypnotize their own generation and, even more, posterity'.




    Boyd Tonkin: Muriel Spark and the Brontës
    Foreword by Muriel Spark

    The Brontës as Teachers

    Letters of the Brontës
    Introduction
    The Letters

    Emily Brontë: Her Life
    One: Fact and Legend
    Two: The Basic Story
    Three: General
    Appendix

    Selected Poems of Emily Brontë
    Introduction
    The Poems

    At Emily Brontë's Grave, Haworth, April 1961

    My Favourite Villain: Heathcliff

    Principal Works of the Brontës
    Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh in 1918. After some years living in Africa, she returned to England, where she edited Poetry Review from 1947 to 1949 and published her first volume of poems, The Fanfarlo, in 1952. She eventually made her home in Italy. Her many novels include Memento ... read more
    Praise for Muriel Spark 'Mysterious, haunting, meticulously wrought.'
    Stand Magazine


    'Spark achieves precisely what she sets out to: no surprise to us now but pretty impressive given that this was her first book.'
    Zoë Strachan, Scottish Review of Books
    'The style is bracingly familiar – beady, ironic, acidulous... She is an astute critic.'
    Anthony Quinn, Daily Mail
    Like all her work, surprising, beautifully written, and with unnerving glimpses into the abyss which lies, always, beneath our feet.
    - John Mortimer, Evening Standard
    'The marvellous thing about Muriel Spark's writing is that...it never gets knotted up in its own so-sharp-she'll-cut-herself cleverness. Spark's writing has a subtle merriment about it, a lightness of touch, a willingness to share in fleeting moments of mundane love and pleasure.'
    Jenny Turner, London Review of Books
    'Like all her work, surprising, beautifully written, and with unnerving glimpses into the abyss which lies, always, beneath our feet.'
    John Mortimer, Evening Standard
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